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Early Egypt election results show the Muslim Brotherhood is rolling (VIDEO)

It turns out superior organization and manpower count for as much in Egyptian elections as they do everywhere else.

By Staff writer / November 30, 2011

Election officials count ballots for the parliamentary elections in Cairo on Wednesday.

Amr Nabil/AP


With the first round of Egypt's long parliamentary election almost over (ballots are still being counted), it looks as if the Muslim Brotherhood is the big winner.

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Turnout Monday was clearly very high – well above the 35 percent or so that typically voted in the rigged elections under Mubarak – and laid to rest concerns that the violent crackdown on protesters in Tahrir Square in the weeks leading up to the polls would convince many Egyptians to stay home.

Clearly the Egyptian public sees the stakes as high, and by and large they are convinced that their votes will be fairly counted. While there have been a lot of complaints about polling irregularities, they've largely centered on the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) campaigning too vigorously near polling places by handing out literature and showing confused voters on sample ballots where the "x" goes for the FJP. 

Issandr El Amrani thinks that when all the votes are counted that the FJP may end up taking 40 percent of the popular vote, which will make them by far the largest bloc. How many seats that will translate into precisely is hard to say. One-third of the seats are reserved for candidates who ran as individuals not officially affiliated with any party. Some of these will surely be FJP supporters that will caucus with the party. There are also quotas for candidates deemed to be "farmers" or "workers" that make seat allocation a more complicated question than a simple percentage of the vote.

Reuters quotes a FJP official as saying the party took about 40 percent of the votes for party lists in Cairo, and a leader of the secular Egyptian Bloc as saying the FJP could have taken as much as 50 percent of the votes in the capital city. To be sure, the second two rounds of voting, which will wrap up in January, could dramatically alter the picture. In 2005, when the Brotherhood's candidates did well in the first round of the parliamentary election, Mubarak's government ramped up its efforts to fix the final two rounds in order to stem the challenge. But with so many Egyptians hungry for a transition away from their authoritarian past, and willing to take to the streets to underscore that desire, the chances for blatant rigging are constrained. 


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